29.10 2012 to 7.11.2012

    With David and Judy and Steve and Kathy and Owen and Bev.

David and Judy and Max and I first stayed at this free camp last year, at the end of our New England tour. An absolutely top spot beside the Mann River. Cangai is 62 klms west of Grafton on the Glen Innes road.

We arrived Monday to find only one other camper, so plenty of room for us. Picked a spot overlooking the river. Fishing season not open til 1 November, so spent the time relaxing and generally taking it very easy. Weather a bit iffy, some light showers and cool nights.

Wednesday saw Steve and Kathy, David and Judy and us exploring the area. First stop, Washpool National Park for morning tea, at the Coachwood Picnic Area. Found the Coombadjka Walk, about 1.5 klms round trip. Cool, lush rainforest, lots of birdlife. Even saw a Superb Lyrebird scratching around in the leaf litter, what a twitcher’s treat! Followed the path down to a creek and rock pools, ringed by King Ferns. Took a bit of a dodgy path back which required some careful going, but well worth the effort, just enjoying the peace and quiet of the forest.

Next stop the Gibralter National Park and the Raspberry Lookout, named for the native raspberry bushes in the area. Magnificent views over the range, all shades of blues and purples as far as the eye could see. Then onto the Old Grafton Road, the original “highway” from Glen Innes to Grafton. Dirt road all the way, winding up and down the range, following the river. Beautiful scenery. Came across a tunnel, hewn by hand through solid rock! Max remembers going through the tunnel more than 50 years ago!! Spotted a rock wallaby with her joey right near the entrance. Followed the road to Grafton, with the jacarandas a sight to see, a quick lunch at Macca’s, then home to our campsite. All in all, an excellent day out.

Thursday an extremely hot day, high 30’s, and the start of the fishing season. Boys did a bit of fishing, but no luck. Plenty of eels and turtles, though. Hot enough for a dip in the river. Very refreshing. Then happy hour under the shade of the trees on the river bank. A whistling kite came right down to the water’s edge – beautiful maneuvering.

Friday and a better day, not so hot. Took a drive looking for Hanging Rock. Back road through the hills, with great views to the river. Found the road to Hanging Rock, turned out to be a cattle property! A local told us that the original “Hanging Rock” was a huge ledge overhanging an escarpment that fell about 15 years ago.  Boys did make up a ‘hanging rock’ ( a rock tied with rope to a tree ) to show Owen the trip wasn’t a total waste of time!  Came in cool and cloudy, still no luck with the fishing, David caught an eel! Whilst fishing in the morning, Max did spot a platypus, which was a bit of a thrill.

Campers started to arrive for the weekend, so we decided to break camp. Getting a bit crowded, after having the place to ourselves. Saturday morning saw Steve and Kathy leave for Guyra, Bev and Owen for home and David and Judy and us on to Brunswick Heads to spend a few days with Ian and Gwen. Walks to the beach, a bit more fishing, a drink at the pub for Melbourne Cup, a night out for dinner and then time to come home. We had a good time, with excellent company and lots of laughs. Now looking forward to our trip to Tasmania with David and Judy in February. Can’t wait.